The Packard Campus Theater programs events year round, usually on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The schedule for each month is posted approximately two weeks in advance. Short subjects are presented before select programs. Titles are subject to change without notice.
In case of inclement weather, for screenings at the Packard Campus Theater, check the information line at (540) 827-1079 ext. 79994 or (202) 707-9994 no sooner than three hours before show time to see if the movie has been cancelled.
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For more information about how to attend, go to the “About the Theater” link at the top of this page.
Request ADA accommodations at least five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or ADA@loc.gov
Friday, January 22 (7:30 p.m.)
BOTH SHOWINGS CANCELED DUE TO IMPENDING WEATHER EVENT
SILENT FILM DOUBLE FEATURE
A FOOL THERE WAS (Fox, 1915)
The phenomenal success of “A Fool There Was” set off a publicity campaign unparalleled at the time centering on its star, an unknown actress bearing the exotic name of Theda Bara. Based on a Rudyard Kipling poem and a subsequent play, “A Fool There Was” established Bara – in press agent lingo, “the woman with the most beautifully wicked face in the world” – as filmdom’s quintessential “vampire,” enticing male pillars of society to relinquish family, career, respectable society, and even life itself, while yearning to remain under her entrancing spell. With such ego-shattering commands as “Kiss me, my fool,” Bara’s destructive powers appealed to women as well as men. “Women are my greatest fans,” Bara stated, “because they see in my vampire the impersonal vengeance of all their unavenged wrongs.” Bara retired from the screen four years later after starring in some 40 films, establishing a new genre, and helping Fox studios become an industry leader. Only one other film from her heyday is known to exist, in addition to two she made during an attempted comeback in the mid-1920s. The film was preserved by the Museum of Modern Art Department of Film. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Ben Model. “A Fool There Was” was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2015.
Black & white, 67 minutes
THE ITALIAN (Paramount, 1915)
Produced and co-written by Thomas Ince and directed by Reginald Barker, "The Italian" stars George Beban, a celebrated theatrical actor known for his portrayals of Italian characters, as an immigrant whose experience falls far short of the American Dream. Beban's stage experience and personal appeal translated well to the screen, and he mastered the nuances of film acting better than many of his contemporaries. Characteristic of Ince's style, "The Italian" is an epic production of opulent sets and costumes expertly and inventively photographed. Ince's influence on cinema also surfaces in the film's less structured, less rigid technique, a counterpoint to the more formal "classical" style employed by directors such as D.W. Griffith. Ben Model will provide live musical accompaniment. “The Italian” was added to the National Film Registry in 1991.
Black & white, 78 minutes
Saturday, January 23 (2 p.m.)
CANCELED DUE TO IMPENDING WEATHER EVENT
SILENT COMEDY SHORTS FROM THE NATIONAL FILM REGISTRY (1912-1928)
Silent film comedy historian Steve Massa will present an evening of rollicking short comedy films that are on the National Film Registry. The line-up includes “A Cure For Pokeritis” ( 1912) starring John Bunny in one of his "domestic" comedies, in which he portrays a henpecked husband alongside co-star Flora Finch; Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle at the height of his fame in “Fatty's Tintype Tangle” (1915), Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy attempting to sell Christmas trees in sunny California in “Big Business” (1928); “Cops” (1922), considered to be one of Buster Keaton’s best short films; “Mighty Like a Moose” (1926), a comedy of mistaken identity starring Charley Chase and Vivien Oakland, and “Pass the Gravy” (1928) starring Max Davidson trying to make peace with his future son-in-law’s family that involves a prize-winning chicken. Live musical accompaniment will be provided by Ben Model.
Black & white, approximately 120 minutes
Saturday, January 23 (7:30 p.m.)
CANCELED DUE TO IMPENDING WEATHER EVENT
RUGGLES OF RED GAP (Paramount, 1935)
Charles Laughton, known for such serious roles as Nero, King Henry XIII and later as the 1935 Captain Bligh, takes on comedy in this tale of an English manservant won in a poker game by American Charlie Ruggles, a member of Red Gap, Washington's extremely small social elite. Laughton, in understated valet fashion, worriedly responds: "North America, my lord. Quite an untamed country I understand." However, once in America, he finds not uncouth backwoodsmen, but rather a more egalitarian society that soon has Laughton reciting the Gettysburg Address, catching the American spirit and becoming a successful businessman. Aided by comedy stalwarts ZaSu Pitts and Roland Young, Laughton really shows his acting range and pulls off comedy perfectly. It didn't hurt that Leo McCarey, who had just worked with W.C. Fields and would next guide Harold Lloyd, was in the director's chair. McCarey, who could pull heartstrings or touch funny bones with equal skill, started his long directorial career working with such comedy icons as Laurel & Hardy and created several beloved American films. “Ruggles of Red Gap” was named to the National Film Registry in 2014. The 1934 Three Stooges comedy short “Punch Drunks” will be shown before the feature.
Black & white, 107 minutes
Friday, January 29 (7:30 p.m.)
MCCABE & MRS. MILLER (Warner Bros., 1971– R-rated *)
In Robert Altman’s “McCabe & Mrs. Miller," the acclaimed director’s impressionistic style revises western events and characters in such a way that the film reflects on history, industry, and genre from an entirely new perspective. The landscape and characters converge in the role of the film’s production. Altman had the set built from scratch according to specific historical parameters. Cast and crew lived in the buildings, which gradually emerged as the town of Presbyterian Church that is built up throughout the film. Credits for the production include notable cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond and a music score by Leonard Cohen, as well as performances by Warren Beatty and Julie Christie, who received an Academy Award Nomination for best actress for her performance. “McCabe & Mrs. Miller" was named to the National Film Registry in 2010. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Color, 120 minutes
Saturday, January 30 (2 p.m.)
HAIL THE CONQUERING HERO (Paramount, 1944)
Who but writer-director Preston Sturges could satirize the worship of war heroes and mothers and get away with it during wartime? Bosley Crowther of the New York Times credited the success of this film to its “sharpness of verbal wit and the vigor of visual expression” and the ability of Sturges to temper “irony with pity.” Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, “Hail the Conquering Hero” follows the foibles of a would-be war hero dismissed from active duty because of chronic hay fever and enlisted by a group of Marines to return home as the war hero that he has pretended to be in letters home and make his mother proud. The lightning-paced plot that develops upon his return offers Sturges, a budding “Hollywood Voltaire” in Crowther’s eyes, myriad opportunities to spoof corruption in small town politics, as well as the propensity to idolize the military. The great French critic André Bazin called this film “a work that restores to American film a sense of social satire that I find equaled only ... in Chaplin’s films.” The film was recently added to the National Film Registry in 2015.
Black & white, 101 minutes
Saturday, January 30 (7:30 p.m.)
TOP GUN (Paramount, 1986)
Though a wag might be tempted to call this Tony Scott film “The Testosterone Chronicles,” the Don Simpson/Jerry Bruckheimer production actually comprises a deft portrait of mid-1980s America, when politicians promised “Morning in America Again,” and singers crooned “God Bless the U.S.A.” The U.S. Navy, for one, did not complain: applications to naval aviation schools soared as a result of this relentless, pulsating film famed for its vertiginous fighter plane sequences. Director Tony Scott, always most at home when crafting slick, visually arresting action set pieces with distinctive flair, delivers and then some. Among others, director Christopher Nolan has highlighted “Top Gun” for the clear influence of the film’s celebrated visual style on future filmmakers. Tom Cruise, who had risen to prominence three years earlier in 1983’s “Risky Business” here graduated to the top echelon of in-demand actors, aided by his good looks, cocky attitude, omnipresent smile, and brazen attempts to woo and secure steamy personal time with at-first amused, later swooning, civilian instructor Kelly McGillis. “Top Gun” became part of the National Film Registry in 2015.
Color, 110 minutes
Sunday, January 31 (2 p.m.)
THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION (Columbia, 1994 – R-rated *)
From a modest start as a critical success but somewhat of a commercial bust upon initial release, “The Shawshank Redemption” now often rates as the top film in Internet Movie Database polling. Like many Stephen King novels and stories, it was adapted to film, but, as some critics have noted, the best movies have arguably resulted from the non-horror part of King’s literary output (such as the novellas “Stand by Me” and “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption”). Banker Tim Robbins is wrongly convicted of the double murder of his wife and her lover. But he spends much of his prison sentence beset by guilt over whether he contributed to her infidelity, and consumed by the knowledge that he had seriously contemplated murdering her. Eventually, Robbins decides he must “get busy living or get busy dying” and plots an eventual escape. Critics have struggled at times to explain the immense public affection for “Shawshank.” Perhaps it is due to the poignant Thomas Newman score and most importantly, the moving character portrayals and deep friendship between inmates Robbins and Morgan Freeman, highlighting the abiding resilience of the human spirit. “The Shawshank Redemption” was added to the National Film Registry in 2015. *No one under the age of 17 will be admitted without a parent or guardian.
Color, 142 minutes
Friday, February 5 (7:30 p.m.)
PLAYHOUSE 90: REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT (CBS/1956)
If the Golden Age of Television can claim to have any gems in it, then surely this Rod Serling original is one of them. Originally aired October 11, 1956, and made at the height of the anthology drama era, “Requiem” is a still compelling human drama about an aging boxer facing an uncertain drama and negotiating the conflicting advice of his long-time manager versus that of a compassionate social worker. Jack Palance, Kim Hunter, Ed Wynn, and Keenan Wynn star in a production so well received it was remade for the big screen in 1962. Before the screening: A 1940 short film titled “Television.” Produced by RKO, it takes the viewer into the exciting, experimental world of “pictures through the air.” Could something like this really catch on?
Black & white, 90 minutes
Saturday, February 6 (2 p.m.)
MADE-FOR-TV-MOVIE DOUBLE FEATURE
BAD RONALD (ABC/1974) and DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (ABC/1973)
Before they largely disappeared from network primetime, the made-for-TV movie was a respected genre all its own with its own menagerie of subgenres including these two psychological thrillers/horror films. In “Bad Ronald” (originally aired: 10/23/74), the new residents of an old house don’t know that they aren’t really alone. Scott Jacoby, Kim Hunter, Pippa Scott and Dabney Coleman star. Second: in “Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark” (originally aired: 10/10/73), Kim Darby and Jim Hutton star as another set of new homeowners to whom some unexpected things begin to happen. Since their original broadcast, both these telefilms have developed devoted cult followings. The original “Don’t Be Afraid…” made such an impression on filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro that he remade it for the big screen in 2010; the new version featured Guy Pearce and Katie Holmes.
Color, 148 minutes
Saturday, February 6 (7:30 p.m.)
STILL LOVING LUCY (CBS/1952-1957)
Few sitcoms from 60 years ago (or, for that matter, 10 years ago) hold up as well as the iconic “I Love Lucy.” Fewer still can’t withstand modern-day binge watching practices as well as “Lucy” does. Among “I Love Lucy’s” incredible keys to success was its ability and willingness to gently reinvent itself each season during its small-screen lifespan. While keeping its focus always on its four main, core characters--of course anchored by the genius that was Lucille Ball--the series moved the group to different settings bringing with them new environs to act and react against. This evening’s screening will feature episodes from each of the series’ major incarnations: its NYC origins, its trip to Hollywood, its trip to Europe, and its eventual relocation to Connecticut. Four episodes will be screened: “Lucy Does a TV Commercial” (5/2/52); “LA at Last” (2/7/55), where Lucy has an interesting encounter with actor William Holden; “Lucy’s Italian Movie,” (4/16/56) where Lucy goes grape stomping; and “Lucy Does the Tango” (3/11/57).
Black & white, 96 minutes
Friday, February 19 (7:30 p.m.)
TARZAN: TARZAN’S DEADLY SILENCE (NBC/1966)
Though he first swung into theaters in 1918, played by Elmo Lincoln, the Lord of the Jungle first came to TV in the personage of Ron Ely in 1968 over NBC. On the air from 1966 to 1968, the series enjoyed long-lasting popularity both in the US and abroad. This two-part installment, from the series’ first season, was later repackaged as a theatrical film for showing overseas. In “Tarzan’s Deadly Silence,” Tarzan loses his hearing after a deadly bomb blast. Featured in the production was former film Tarzan, Jock Mahoney. These episodes originally aired October 28, 1966 and November 4, 1966.
Color, 120 minutes
Saturday, February 20 (2 p.m.)
SPACE:1999: THE BRINGERS OF WONDER (Syndicated/1977)
The Packard Campus brings its theater-going patrons a unique nostalgia for the future with this two-part episode from the space saga’s second season. As created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson, today, among other things, “Space: 1999” serves as an important link in small screen science fiction—a bridge of sorts between the “outer space Western” feel of the original “Star Trek” and its more cerebral sequel “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” Oscar-winner Martin Landau, multiple Emmy winner Barbara Bain, and Catherine Schell star as residents of Moonbase Alpha, a colony on Earth’s moon which is now hurtling through the galaxy. In this installment, the Alphans are overjoyed to encounter a ship of what appears to be fellow Earthlings…but are they? The programs were originally aired in August of 1977.
Color, 120 minutes
Saturday, February 20 (7:30pm)
TEN FROM YOUR SHOW OF SHOWS (Continental Distributing.1973)
Seen on NBC from 1950 to 1954, Sid Caesar and his band of merry players produced one of the most renowned and enduring television programs in history. This compilation, released theatrically in 1973, collects some of the “Show’s” most beloved and hilarious sketches including inspired takes off of “From Here to Eternity” and TV’s “This Is Your Life.” Featured alongside Caesar is his incomparable ensemble that included Imogene Coca, Louis Nye, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris.
Black & white, 92 minutes
Friday, February 26 (7:30 p.m.)
THE NIGHT THAT PANICKED AMERICA (ABC/1975)
Radio meets television in this docu-drama that looks back at Orson Welles’s and the Mercury Theater’s infamous “War of the Worlds” broadcast from October 30, 1938. Paul Shenar stars as Welles in this reenactment which takes place both in the radio studio and out in the country where the compelling storytelling of Welles and his company set off a nationwide panic. Meredith Baxter, Tom Bosley, Eileen Brennan Vic Morrow, John Ritter, and Will Geer co-star in this tale of mass media mass hysteria. Originally broadcast on October 31, 1975, this made-for-TV movie would go on the garner Emmy nominations for outstanding writing, editing, and sound.
Color, 92 minutes
Saturday, February 27 (2 p.m.)
A SATURDAY OF SUPER HEROES (1958-1979)
Before they began to overrun the multiplexes every summer, super heroes were most at home on television beginning with the 1952 debut of “The Adventures of Superman.” In this perfect-for-a-Saturday-afternoon retrospective, the thrilling feats of four of TV greatest heroes will be screened. George Reeves plays the Man of Steel in the season six episode “The Perils of Superman” (syndicated; 4/21/58). Then it’s a camp-tastic half-hour of Adam West as “Batman.” In this installment from the series’ third season, “The Ogg Couple” (ABC; 12/21/67), Batman and Robin (Burt Ward) tangle with super criminal Egghead (Vincent Price) and his evil cohort Queen Olga (Anne Baxter). Next, “Wonder Woman” (the definitive Lynda Carter) takes on the Nazi menace in the season one episode “Fausta, The Nazi Wonder Woman” (CBS; 4/28/76). Finally, David Banner (Bill Bixby) is a professor on the run who harbors a terrible secret in “The Incredible Hulk” episode “Homecoming” (CBS; 11/30/79)--but don’t make him angry. You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.
Black & white and Color, 120 minutes
Saturday, February 27 (7:30 p.m.)
AUSTIN CITY LIMITS – HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIRST FIVE YEARS (PBS)
Austin City Limits is the longest-running music series in American television history. ACL recorded its first program in October 1974 at the University of Texas, though the pilot with Willie Nelson never officially aired. Originally created to celebrate the music of Texas—featuring western swing, Texas blues, Tejano music, progressive country, and rock n' roll—the series has gone on to feature regional, national and international artists performing a wide range of musical styles. ACL is the only television program to ever receive the National Medal of Arts, the nation's highest award for artistic excellence. Most of the performances in this program, culled and digitally restored from the Library of Congress’ Video collection, have not been seen since the 1970s. Performers include Willie Nelson from the 1974 pilot episode; Merle Haggard; George Jones; Tom Waits; Lightnin’ Hopkins; Ernest Tubb; Clifton Chenier; Merle Travis; Earl Scruggs; Charlie Pride; John Prine; Bobby Bare with Ronnie Montrose and Tracy Nelson; Jerry Jeff Walker and The Lost Gonzo Band; Asleep at the Wheel; Clarence Gatemouth Brown; Townes Van Zandt; Flaco Jimenez and Ry Cooder; Marcia Ball and Hank Thompson.
Color, 90 minutes
Last Updated: 01/21/2016